Beliefnet News

Associated Press
London – July 23, 2007 – The decision to slaughter a bull revered as sacred by his Hindu caretakers is justified, a British court ruled Monday, overturning a decision by a lower court last week.
The ruling could spell the end for Shambo, a 6-year-old Friesian bull, whose life has been in jeopardy since he tested positive for bovine tuberculosis in April.
Local regulations stipulate that cattle suspected of carrying the disease be slaughtered, but Shambo’s caretakers at the Skanda Vale monastery in southwestern Wales have mounted a campaign to save the beast. Hindus consider cattle sacred, and lawyers for the monastery argued that slaughtering the bull would interfere with their religious rights.
The monastery also took its case to the public, creating an Internet petition, a blog containing Shambo’s “daily thoughts,” and even a Webcast called “Moo Tube” that tracks the bull’s movements around its hay-filled shrine.
Last week, a judge in Wales ordered local authorities to reconsider their decision to slaughter the bull. But on Monday, the Court of Appeal in London reversed the decision, ruling that Shambo’s slaughter was justified considering the risk posed by bovine tuberculosis.
The disease can spread to other cattle and deer, and in rare cases to other animals and to humans, according to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
The monastery said it was devastated by the news.
“This decision seriously disregards the principal tenets of Hindu Dharma (divine law),” Skanda Vale said in a statement, adding that Shambo should receive medical attention rather than be executed. “We don’t cull infected humans, we treat them,” the temple said.
It added that the temple’s monks should not be expected to participate in any move to have Shambo killed. Sanjay Mistry, a spokesman for the temple, said it was likely the bull could be killed within the next few weeks.
Mistry said the monastery was still trying to determine whether or not it could appeal the decision.
Shambo is one of a herd of cattle kept on the monastery’s 115-acre spread.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Associated Press
Manila, Philippines – July 19, 2007 – An Italian missionary priest kidnapped more than a month ago has been released after negotiations with a rogue faction of a Muslim separatist group, Philippine police said Friday.
The Rev. Giancarlo Bossi, 57, was kidnapped June 10 in the Southeast Asian nation’s volatile south.
Chief Superintendent Jaime Caringal, a regional police commander, said the Roman Catholic priest was freed at about 9 p.m. Thursday along the boundary between Lanao Del Sur and Lanau Del Norte provinces. “He is well, but he lost a lot of weight,” Caringal said.
In Rome, Italian Premier Romano Prodi announced the release. “Father Giancarlo Bossi has been freed … I’m truly emotional, happy,” Prodi said. “Today is his mother’s birthday, so it was also a very lucky coincidence.”
On July 10, a Philippine marine convoy searching for Bossi was ambushed by Muslim insurgents in jungle on the southern island of Basilan, and 14 troops were killed. The military blamed the al-Qaida-linked Abu Sayyaf for the clash.
Pope Benedict XVI said last week that he was praying daily for Bossi, and Italy sent a longtime diplomat, Margherita Boniver, to the Philippines to work for his release. Benedict received the news of Bossi’s release with “great joy,” according to Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi.
Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Associated Press
Washington – President Bush signed an executive order Friday spelling out new interrogation techniques for terrorism suspects that bar cruel and inhumane treatment, humiliation or denigration of prisoners’ religious beliefs.
The White House declined to say whether the CIA currently has a detention and interrogation program, but said if it did, it must adhere to the guidelines outlined in the executive order. The order targets captured al-Qaida terrorists who have information on attack plans or the whereabouts of the group’s senior leaders.
Copyright 2007 The Associated Press

United Press International
Rome, Jul 19, 2007 (UPI via COMTEX) — Jewish leaders in Italy praised the Vatican Thursday for contemplating the removal of a Latin mass prayer that calls for the conversion of Jews.
The praise from the nation’s Jewish community comes after Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the secretary of state for the Vatican, said Wednesday that the prayer could be removed soon from the reintroduced mass, the Italian news agency ANSA reported.
The Latin mass was reintroduced by Pope Benedict XVI earlier this year and immediately prompted a religious furor over its controversial stance on Judaism.
While the pope introduced a modernized version of the controversial prayer that eliminated harsher language, the context of the religious text remained the same, ANSA said.
Therefore Jewish leaders throughout Italy said they were happy at hearing this week’s announcement from Bertone.
“The declarations made by Cardinal Bertone clear away the fears that we and others expressed in recent days,” Union of Italian Jewish Communities head Renzo Gattegna told ANSA.
Copyright 2007 United Press International